Should Abortion Be Restricted? (The Opposing Side) Jessica Bartek April 26, 2011 POLS 1101H Sec. A Professor Marc Pufong

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1 Should Abortion Be Restricted? (The Opposing Side) Jessica Bartek April 26, 2011 POLS 1101H Sec. A Professor Marc Pufong

2 Introduction Should abortion be restricted? This is a question that is argued over constantly with no end in sight. People supporting the No side of this question are sometimes seen as heartless, but there are times where it would make more sense to have abortion unrestricted. The health of the mother needs to be taken into consideration, as well as pregnancies that are the result of traumatic events. The defensive side of this endless debate needs just as much attention as the supporting side, because even though abortion is preventing a baby from being born, the women who have abortions sometimes have reasonable explanations as to why they want to abort the baby. Pregnancy as the result of unexpected circumstances Pregnancies can be a result of unexpected events such as a rape. A woman is not likely to want to keep a child that is the result of such a traumatic event as a rape, because every time she looks at that child she is going to be reminded of the situation that produced the child in the first place. This can also be traumatic for the child because they tend to want to know where they came from and who their birth parents are, so if the mother tells them the truth then the child will think that they were not wanted and feel like it was their fault that the mother had to go through such an awful experience. This could have a negative impact on the child s self-esteem and mental state, which may lead them to believe they will end up becoming as corrupt as the one responsible for creating their life. Another unexpected event is incest. Sometimes two adults meet, fall in love, and decide to have a child. However, they are unaware that they are actually closely related and not aware of the other s blood relation due to adoption or some other factor. The reason that the mother

3 would decide to abort the fetus is that as a result of incest, the child has a very high chance of being born with disabilities, and the mother feels she should take pity on the child and aborts it so it would not have to live a life like that. In addition, incest is illegal and the child would be looked down upon by its family because of its parents actions (Turiel et al. 1991, 24). This may also be a reason for a woman to abort a baby when she is in a relationship with somebody she knows she is closely related to, because she wants to keep that kind of relationship a secret. Women could also want to abort a child because the home that they are currently living in is an abusive home and they want to protect the child from living in those kinds of conditions. The reasoning for this aborting can be seen as taking pity on the child because the mother feels it is better for the child to never be born than grow up in a home where it is not safe and it could possibly live a shortened frightening life. Pregnancy could cause life-threatening issues for the woman In the popular television show House M.D., there was an episode where a woman was suffering from cancer but was twenty eight weeks pregnant. She decided to risk her own health for another week to give her baby a better chance of survival when it is delivered early so she could begin receiving treatment for the cancer. Unfortunately, the cancer took the mother s life but the baby was able to be saved due to her letting it develop more (House M.D. 2005). If abortion is restricted, then women will not be able to have the choice to save the baby or themselves. They will be forced to risk their lives in order to give life to a baby that they would rather abort so they can continue living. Baird and Rosenbaum have this to say in their book: The fetus, being a person has a right to life, but as the mother is a person too, so has she a right to life. Presumably they have

4 an equal right to life (Baird and Rosenbaum 1989, 31). This shows that the life of the mother is just as important as the life of the unborn child. If abortion is restricted, then the life of the fetus takes precedence over the mother s life which goes against the mother s right to continue her life in the way she wants. Sure, aborting a fetus is denying a child the chance to be born into this world but that does not mean that the fetus should always be put before the mother because the mother is a living person too and she needs to be taken into consideration. Baird and Rosenbaum also mentioned: We are told that performing the abortion would be directly killing the child, whereas doing nothing would not be killing the mother, but only letting her die (Baird and Rosenbaum 1989, 32). This can put pressure on the doctor because they are supposed to do everything they can to save the lives of their patients, and if that means letting the mother choose to abort her baby in order for her to live, then the doctor should be allowed to do that because the mother is the patient not the fetus. Letting the mother die could also go against the doctor s code to do no harm because not doing anything to help the mother, even aborting the fetus, could be seen as neglect, which is an indirect form of harm. No doctor wants this on their conscience, or their career record. Restricting abortion causes women to feel they need to go through unsafe means Women who really want or even need to have an abortion would practically be forced to do something that could be extremely dangerous to her health in order to get the procedure done if abortion is restricted. Abortions that are done illegally are significantly more dangerous than getting an abortion done at a hospital because they usually have to be done illegally, which means the person performing the abortion is likely not a professional and it would most likely take place in an unsanitary location with unsanitary tools. Hadley mentions that, When

5 an abortion is legal and can be performed early in pregnancy by a skilled person, using modern techniques, with ready access to emergency facilities in case problems arise, it is safer than having your tonsils out (Hadley 1996, 43). Since the person is not a professional, then there is a chance for the abortion to be incomplete which can lead to many agonizing results such as pelvic infection, hemorrhage, shock, poisoning, perforated wombs and injury to the cervix that engender a lifetime of permanent illness, pain and weakness (Hadley 1996, 43). In addition, illegal abortions can lead to sterility which can be devastating to the woman if she planned on trying to become a mother later on in her future. These types of abortions have one more horrific result for the mother, and that is death, the ultimate payment of illegal abortions. If the mother dies from the complications of an illegal abortion, she may be free from the pain of her experience but then, the family of the mother and especially the father must deal with the pain of her passing. Unfortunately, the father or the woman s family could not sue the one who performed the abortion because it was illegal. They would not technically be able to prove the abortion ever happened. This could also get the people who supported the mother in trouble because they knew that the abortion was illegal and they knew that it was much more dangerous than continuing the pregnancy if she was not ill. It could end up the family being charged with a crime and the one who performed the abortion could potentially escape without punishment. If abortions were not restricted, then this woman, and other women in the country, would never have to go through this type of experience, so they could continue on with their lives as well as keep their health; statistics show that every day around 200 women around the world die because of unsafe abortions

6 ( Abortion: The Impact of Illegal Abortion, 2003), dropping the restrictions could greatly lower that number or even make it disappear completely. The government should not have the power to force someone to become a mother Consider a young middle school girl who has gotten pregnant, for some reason or another, and she wants to get an abortion. She should be allowed to go through that procedure because, as Gordon puts it, it is better for a twelve-year-old not to endure the trauma of having a child when she is herself a child (McKenna and Feingold 2007, 201). This young girl still has her whole life ahead of her: she has to get through school, get a diploma, and go on to college to help her get a successful career. She cannot do all of those things when she is busy raising a child. Even if she gives up the child to adoption, she is still affected psychologically because the restrictions would force her to carry that child for nine months, go through the delivering process, and then give her own child up so that it can be raised by people who can actually take care of it. Forcing a woman who did not ask to become a mother, such as a rape victim, to go through pregnancy is just as bad as forcing a twelve-year-old to go through pregnancy. A moral philosopher in Hadley s work defends women s right to be able to get an abortion by saying, Secondly, the imposition of pregnancy and involuntary childbirth is an infringement of a woman s moral rights to liberty and to self-determination (Hadley 1996, 69). Since forcing a woman to become a mother is against her rights, the government should not be able to restrict abortion as it would be unconstitutional. This could be seen as the government essentially breaking their own laws.

7 In addition, the government putting restrictions on abortion is somewhat insulting to women by making them seem like their main purpose in life is to have children (Hadley 1996, 69). Forcing women to stay pregnant keeps them from doing many of the everyday things that they are used to doing. Working is a good example of this. Women have to leave their jobs to go on maternity leave which results in them getting behind on their work, depending on their job, and they get behind on any updates within the workplace. In addition to maternity leave, women miss work more because, depending on what type of delivery they had, they would have to stay home and recover. Even worse than maternity leave and recovery, women could miss work for most of their nine months of pregnancy because some women need to be put on bed rest; this could be bad for her physical health because she would be barely moving for almost a year, so she would have to spend even more time trying to get back into shape once the delivery and recovery are complete. The government should not be able to change a woman s life that drastically just because of her biology. Conclusion In conclusion, restricting abortion casts becoming a mother in an undesirable light (Hadley 1996, 69). The women cannot choose what they want to do to their own bodies just because of the argument of whether or not the fetus has the right to life (Baird and Rosenbaum 1989, 31-32). Restricting abortion drives women to more dangerous situations than ending the life of a baby (Hadley 1996, 43). The baby could even be a result of a traumatic experience, and the woman should be able to get an abortion to help her move on from it so she can continue her life (McKenna and Feingold 2007, 23). And when it comes to medical situations, putting restrictions on abortion could make a woman lose her life because the restrictions would favor

8 the life of the baby over her own. In addition, these restrictions could be unconstitutional because they impede upon women s rights (Hadley 1996, 69). So putting restrictions on abortion is all around a bad idea: it could be dangerous, it is illegal, and it does not take the woman s emotions and health into account. The No side of this argument needs to be heard because even though the supporters of this side can be seen as cruel, the people who refuse to listen to a woman s plea to have control of her own body are the real cruel ones.

9 References Abortion: The Impact of Illegal Abortion. The Abortion Access Project. April 20, Baird, Robert M. and Stuart E. Rosenbaum The Ethics of Abortion. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books. Fox Broadcasting Company, House M.D., 19 April 2005, Babies & Bathwater. Hadley, Janet Abortion: Between Freedom and Necessity. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press McKenna, G. and Stanley Feingold, Clashing Views on Controversial Political Issues (15 th Edition) Turiel, Elliot, Carolyn Hildebrandt, and Cecilia Wainryb Judging Social Issues: Difficulties, Inconsistencies, and Consistencies. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 56:

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